BOOK BLURB: After the War took the lives of Lulu Davies’s parents and her fiancé, she promised herself she would guard her heart carefully and concentrate on her great love–flying the biggest and best airplanes in the sky. Lulu is a pilot in the British civilian air force, ferrying planes around Great Britain and keeping her eye on a coveted spot in a training program for world-class pilots. She’s perfectly content to strive for greatness in the skies, and dance with a few GIs on the way.Brawny, quiet American medic Joe Weber signed up with the paratroopers to escape his checkered past; he’s hoping that jumping out of planes and patching up soldiers will earn him respect and a hopeful future. Joe’s first real test of medical skill is on a pilot whose plane takes a hard landing in a training field; after rushing to the crash scene, he is stunned to come face-to-face with a gorgeous Rita Hayworth lookalike. And when the two cross paths at a dance hall a couple weeks later, he can’t resist the urge to find out more about this spirited, dark-haired beauty.
Their flirtation breaks all of Lulu’s rules, but dance by dance, week by week, walk by walk, she finds herself falling in love with this honest, vulnerable man on the run from his demons. But as Lulu and Joe’s undeniable attraction gains momentum, World War II steadily intensifies toward D-Day. Only time and hope will tell if the two lovers can overcome the past to form a beautiful life together in peace-time.
A gal pushed between him and the man to his right. Without a word or a spare glance, she picked up Joe’s beer and took a long swig. Joe frowned, then his jaw went slack. It was her.
She thumped the empty stein on the counter and daintily wiped the corners of her ruby lips. Smiling when she met his eyes, she said, “I daresay I was thirsty.”
“You’re that pilot.”
“And you’re that medic.”
Nearly as dazed as when he’d first seen her in that downed Hurricane, Joe didn’t know what else to say. He needed a drink, but someone had just polished off his beer.
“Jamie,” he said, signaling the thin Limey behind the bar. “Two more, please.”
The woman grinned when the bartender brought the drinks right away. “However did you manage that?”
Joe shrugged, then handed over the unfamiliar money. “Enlisted men tip better than the officers.”
“Knowingly? You just gave him twice as much as you ought.”
“We got our beers, didn’t we?” He lifted his drink. “To second chances.”
“Soldier,” she said, tapping her stein against his, “you’re going to need more than second chances to survive this muddle.”
Joe laughed. “To eighth chances, then?”
“That sounds about right.”
“How’s your knee?”
She glanced down. “Better. I was laid up for a few days, but you were right. All things considered, I was lucky.”
Joe realized she was wearing slacks. The unfamiliar dark blue uniform sat neatly along the curve of her bosom, the inward nip of her waist, and the rounded flare of slender hips and athletic legs. He’d never thought slacks on a woman could be arousing, but they suited her: tidy, slim, conservative but with a heavy undercurrent of daring. Her hair was parted down the center and piled in waves that framed her pale face.
Those wide brown eyes, eyes he hadn’t been able to forget, remained unchanged–still a little screwy, but her gaze was keener now.
“Can you dance?” he asked, surprising himself.
“Slow dances, if you don’t mind.”
“Not at all.”
She smiled anew. Forgotten parts of Joe perked up and screamed for attention. Female attention. She was beautiful and completely unexpected. He wanted to touch her, kiss her, lay her across the bar . . . Jesus, his imagination had no manners.
He hurtled back to himself and wrapped both hands around his stein. Damp pewter would have to do when he really craved warm, womanly skin. Smoke clogged his nostrils and music pounded in his head.
“What’s your name?” he asked, staring at the froth of her beer.
“Second Officer Lulu Davies, Air Transport Auxiliary.”
“Short for Louise.”
“I like that,” he said.
“Me, too. Now it’s my turn to guess.” She took hold of his shoulders and turned his upper body to face her squarely. Joe shivered when she gave his biceps a quick squeeze. A secret smile tilted the corners of her perfectly painted lips. “Only one chevron,” she said, glancing at his tunic sleeve. “Poor private.”
“First class, at least.”
“You don’t think I’d be seen with any less, do you?”
“I wouldn’t presume.”
She touched the insignia of wide eagles’ wings affixed above his right breast pocket. “No stars above your jump wings, which means despite being with the 82nd Airborne, you haven’t yet seen combat.”
“You shouldn’t be,” she said with a dismissive wave. “Simply means I’ve idled with too many soldiers. Now all I need is your name.”
Lulu finished her drink and nodded for Joe to do the same. He complied. The beer wasn’t strong enough to cool how hot his blood was running. Not by half. She took his hand. “Well, Pfc. Joe Weber, I’ll have a dance now.”
FEATURED AUTHOR: Carrie Lofty
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